Thursday, November 29, 2012

DO NOT READ if you are under 15. Just in case. I mean it.

I am going to start by saying this: This is my blog and this is where I share my feelings and opinions. I am not writing to open up debate or cause anyone else to feel bad. I have no interest in debating anything with anyone, and any rude or argumentative comments will be deleted. I am simply writing this to share what I believe. Oh, and for the record, none of my pictures featured here are of our home or our decorations.
 We don't "do" Santa in our home. We made that decision the year our son was born, back in 2003. We discussed it at length and came away deciding that we were definitely not comfortable with it. Both of us have happy memories of Santa Clause being a part of our childhoods, and neither of us had a rude awakening or anything. But having fond memories of something was not enough of a reason for us to embrace it. I am not a Santa hater. Let me try and explain...

We became Christians the same year that we got married (2002). Through reading the bible and learning about our faith, we learned about all of the things that most people take for granted. For example, why we celebrate Christmas in the first place. Most people KNOW that Christmas is about baby Jesus being born and that Christians celebrate his birth. Maybe not everyone knows or cares why, but most people at least know that much. Head knowledge of something from a distance is so much different when you are up close and on the other side of the fence. All of a sudden we got it. We KNEW that Jesus was born to die for us, to save us from our sins, to rescue us, because God loved us so much. And we realized THAT was the entire point of celebrating Christmas. Because God loved us enough to send his son. Because that was the ultimate gift. And then sharing that gift with others.

 All of a sudden we struggled with what felt right for us, and what felt like it was just part of a tradition. A lot of stuff that we considered fun, no longer seemed important. And a lot of things felt distracting to us. Santa was one of those things. I get that Santa has a great back story, and his roots are all good... but we just didn't feel like pretending a big fat dude slid down chimneys to give our kids presents was going to help us focus on what the purpose of Christmas. Which to us, by the way, is remembering what God did for us, focusing on all of the ways that took place, spending time with and being grateful for our family and friends, and then sharing his love with others. Sometimes in big ways, sometimes little. This includes donating toys to Toys for Tots or Angel Tree, Samaritans Purse, etc... and helping with food drives, among many other things. We also try to throw in random acts of kindness all year long, but especially in December. I don't ever talk much about any of that stuff because it kind of feels like horn tooting. On the same note, I love scouring other blogs for the wonderful RAK ideas they share, so if they felt the same way, I would be out of luck. None of my ideas are original so there is not reason to share them.

I realize that there are plenty of ways to embrace Santa that really wouldn't be all that distracting. But it still felt wrong to us. Besides that, I never could get past the whole lying to my kid thing. It just felt bad. I get that the trade off is having fun and the anticipation of the surprises on Christmas morning (or whatever the exciting part is), but I couldn't do it. And by the way, we don't do the Easter Bunny thing either. We kind of do tooth fairy, but I never ever actually told him it was real. His friends had already told him that if you put your tooth under a pillow that a fairy will come and give you money. He never asked, he just told us he was going to do it. The first time he did ask, when he was 8, I told him the truth. He was disappointed, but I had never lied to him. Yeah, that may be hypocritical in some way, but I don't think it is so I don't feel bad. And the tooth fairy isn't distracting my children from any real life thing that is much more important. I also realize that most kids don't feel betrayed when they find out they have been lied to, but most kids do feel a crushing disappointment when they find out, and that Christmas is often a hard one. I wanted to avoid that whole situation as well.

I do a lot of little things to try and reconcile making our faith as big a part of this holiday as possible. We constantly try to reign things in so that we are purposeful in most of what we do. We do have a Christmas tree. And while some say it has meaning to them, (the evergreen representing our everlasting life in God and all that), we don't necessarily feel that way. It's pretty. We prayed about it and didn't feel a good reason NOT to do it. We had peace about it. Every year we continue to reexamine the things we have embraced and willingly change whatever no longer right. In the past that has meant doing things like changing out the ornaments on the tree. Instead of things like Disney characters and Santa and snowmen, we focus on ornaments that have meaning to the holiday. And to our family. It also means we don't do things like Elf on the Shelf. He may be cute and it looks like a lot of fun to hide him every day and surprise the kids with his new antics, but I just can't justify how that is relevant. And it would be VERY distracting.

I would never ever judge another family for what they choose to celebrate in their own home. I don't actually see a problem with Santa Clause, and I do not in any way feel that no one should do it. It just wasn't right for US. One thing that I have really enjoyed as a Christian is being around all of the other Christians and learning what they believe and why. I love to observe other families and see what works for them and sometimes that means our beliefs change because we see the way someone else chooses to do something and we pray and research and it changes us. I think that is how God uses us to help one another grow. If I didn't have a church family that I could rely on and share with and learn from... I would be lost. I would be stuck in my own little world with my own little ideas and it wouldn't be pretty. There are probably several things that we still embrace that would be better left out. Hopefully as we grow and learn, we will realize it and left go of anything unhealthy. I am very uncomfortable with the whole consumerism side of Christmas. I would be relieved if we never exchanged presents again as part of Christmas. At least not store bought ones. But I also realize it would be pretty hard on the kids because it's something we have always done and all of their close friends get big expensive presents, and it would be hard to be the only one left out. I don't think I could do that to them. Hopefully when they are older...
We have several nativity scenes in our home at Christmastime. It helps us remember what its all about. We also have a little Fisher Price nativity set that our little one plays with on a regular basis, but it stays in the living room for Christmas. She is only two so she doesn't get it yet, but she loves to carry around baby Jesus. And her innocence makes me smile. In the end, it's just a little way to celebrate Jesus and it's a great teaching tool.

Starting this year, we are going to do a Jesse Tree. The Jesse Tree represents the family tree, or genealogy of Jesus Christ. It tells the story of God's salvation plan, beginning with creation and continuing through the Old Testament, to the coming of the Messiah. The name comes from Isaiah 11:1, "Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit." (NASB) Each day of Advent a homemade ornament is added to the Jesse Tree, a small tree made of evergreen branches. These symbolic ornaments can each represent a prophecy foretelling of Christ. Other variations include creating ornaments that represent the ancestors in the lineage of Christ, or using the various monogram symbols of Christianity as handmade ornaments.We wanted to do this last year, but I ran out of time to make the ornaments or research it properly, and was too busy planning for Hailey's 1st birthday party instead. The one we chose to use has a family devotional that goes with it for each day's ornament. I am very excited about it!

The original reason for this entire post was to tell you about a movie we watched last night. We watched

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love your comments- thanks for sharing! :D

Follow by Email